9 things you never noticed in the reunion movie 'Return to Mayberry'

Did you notice Don's daughter and Judy Jetson?

In the Eighties, America missed Mayberry. The proof is in the rating. When Return to Mayberry aired in 1986, the special became the most-watched TV movie of the year.

Reunions and reboots can be tricky propositions, but this sequel lived up to its name. It was not merely a reunion of the cast. Director Bob Sweeney had helmed 80 episodes of The Andy Griffith Show, while writers Harvey Bullock and Everett Greenbaum were responsible for some of the greatest Mayberry tales such as "The Pickle Story" and "The Mayberry Band." No wonder the formula remained intact.

Now, you can revisit the reunion on MeTV. Return to Mayberry serves as the fitting conclusion to The Month of Mayberry on Sunday, May 31, at 5PM | 4C.

Let's take a closer look at one of the greatest television reunions!

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1. The original Mayberry had been destroyed.

In the sixties, filming of The Andy Griffith Show took place on the 40 Acres Studio Lot in Culver City, California, the hub for Desilu Production. This is why you can spot familiar Mayberry businesses and streets in other Desilu shows such as Star Trek and Mission: Impossible. However, in 1976, the entire facility was demolished. Hey, at least they didn't blow up Mayberry for an exploitation film. That meant when production began on Return to Mayberry a decade later in 1986, a new Mayberry needed to be constructed. Try to spot the differences. It's particularly noticeable in the closing shot, when Andy and Barney raise the American flag on a street that stretched to the horizon.

2. Judy Jetson was the voice of Aunt Bee.

Frances Bavier had retired from acting following her time on Mayberry, R.F.D. In fact, she had moved to North Carolina — to a small town not far from the fictional Mayberry! Some claim that Bavier did not reprise her role as Aunt Bee in Return to Mayberry for health reasons (she passed away three years later in 1989) while others speculate she was merely not interested. Thus, Aunt Bee does not appear in the reunion movie, though her voice is heard. That is actually Janet Waldo performing as Bee. You know the cartoon legend best as Judy Jetson, Pearl Slaghoople, Penelope Pitstop, Josie the Pussycat and more! She did physically appear in Mayberry, too, in the Andy Griffith Show episode "A Wife for Andy."

3. Karen Knotts, daughter of Don, has a role in the movie.

Karen Knotts continues to carry on the legacy of her father to this day, touring her one-woman comedy show. She also has a small resume of television roles, including early guest spots on Eight Is Enough and One Day at a Time. You can find her in Return to Mayberry as Opie's receptionist!

4. Ron Howard's dad marries Barney and Thelma.

Indeed, Return to Mayberry is a family affair! Rance Howard was no stranger to The Andy Griffith Show, having been around the set often with his sons, Ron (Opie) and Clint (Leon). You probably remember him best as the governor's driver in "Barney and the Governor." He's also driving (a bus) in "Cousin Virgil." Spot him in "A Black Day for Mayberry" and "The Rumor," too!

5. Barney switched to driving a Chevy.

Ford supplied the Mayberry police cruisers in the original series. Sheriff Taylor's squad cars were always Ford Galaxie 500s. Well, after Andy moved to Cleveland (yep, that's the backstory in Return to Mayberry) the town must have switched suppliers. Barney now drives a 1981 Chevy Malibu.

6. It's just the third time Goober and Gomer appear together.

They may be cousins, but they are not as close as it seems when it comes to sharing the screen. Goober (George Lindsey) made his debut in the 1964 episode "Fun Girl." You remember the scene — "Judy! Judy! Judy!" Surprisingly, this is the only time Gomer and Goober appear together on The Andy Griffith Show! "A Visit from Cousin Goober" reunited the two again on Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. in 1965. At last, in Return to Mayberry, the cousins are closer than ever, running a gas station together.

7. It was the final TV role in character for George Lindsey.

Speaking of Goober, Return to Mayberry would prove to the television swan song in character for actor George Lindsey. Well, there was one brief reprise in an unlikely place. Nashville Now was a talk show on the Nashville Network in the early Nineties. In 1991, an entire episode was devoted to The Andy Griffith Show, with the stars as guests, as the cast was in town for a reunion. Lindsey, Hal Smith and Betty Lynn slipped into character for a short skit. He would later make a couple of cameos as "himself" on Vicki! and NewsRadio in the 1990s.

8. A certain Taylor child seems to be missing.

Remember this baby? Samuel Taylor? Child of Andy and Helen Taylor? He was first seen in "Andy's Baby," an episode of Mayberry R.F.D. Opie's kid brother would have been around 17 years old in Return to Mayberry. However, no mention is made of the boy, nor is he seen.

9. Some notorious Mayberry criminals went straight.

In "The Christmas Story," early in the episode, Andy and Barney sit and read holiday cards. The Hubachers, a trio of brothers locked up in state prison, send one to the cops. We see a close-up of the card, which reads, "Greetings from state prison." Well, the Hubachers must have reformed after two decades. Look for Hubacker's Hardware Store in Return to Mayberry! They're now businessmen, presumably!

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MusicLover3889 4 months ago
Ellie, Warren, and Sam were also MIA for the movie. It was awesome seeing Otis completely sober.
Sandi 9 months ago
Thelma Lou had married someone else, in an earlier episode.
MusicLover3889 Sandi 4 months ago
That marriage only turned out to last 18 months.
DMorrison 10 months ago
I love the Andy Griffith show. I watch it every night it never gets old. Saw the movie on Saturday and it didnt disappoint. I loved it. Never saw it before. I did miss Aunt Bee wish she would have been in the movie.
salisbury62 10 months ago
Haven't seen this in a long time its corny but great.
Greg 10 months ago
The town that stood in for Mayberry, Los Olivos, Ca is also where Fess(Danial Boone)Parker's winery is located.
GordARebelato 10 months ago
I seen it when it first came out. It was not very memorable as I do not remember much of it. I will watch it later tonight.
Momoflove4 10 months ago
I’m really looking forward to seeing it. I still watch The Andy Griffith show to this day in the evenings on Netflix. There aren’t any decent programs on nowadays. I just love this show!!!!
RavenStar77 10 months ago
ive never seen return to it cant wait to watch it
brucebridges90 10 months ago
Great movie !!! Can't wait to see it again .
UlyssesMcDowell 10 months ago
Oh no. Not that movie. It makes me cry:)
Momoflove4 UlyssesMcDowell 10 months ago
I haven’t seen it yet, why does it make you cry? I’m going to watch it this upcoming Sunday.
chadmark88 Momoflove4 10 months ago
I'm not going to spoil it for you, but you'll have "happy" tears and "sad" ones !! Some of the plot is a little slow, but if you enjoy watching the original series, you'll like this movie that takes place almost 20 years later. Remember, the lot where the original show was filmed was demolished in 1976 - so this is a "different" town - made to look similar to Mayberry, filmed in 1986. here is a picture of what the town looked like before and after - it was very sad that they couldn't keep it the way it was, but progress took over and a new industrial park was constructed with studio's and warehouses.
StevenLawson 10 months ago
There was no laugh track. I wish they would add one. I thought for sure that would be on the list.
Well, it was a movie, and traditionally movies never needed laugh tracks. That being said, however, there's a version of RETURN TO GREEN ACRES that had one, albeit poorly-edited.
That's one part of the original series I DID'NT like - it always made me think we wouldn't think it was funny, unless we heard other people laughing.
Newyorkcitygal 10 months ago
Thank You for all the info on the Andy Griffith show/movies. I have loved and watched for 30 plus years.
RoyLeeSeay 10 months ago
Dud Wash changed his name to Willie Gilligan and, after leaving the hills outside Mayberry, NC, made his way to Hawaii. He Hired on as First Mate with CPt. Grumby. Dud AKA Gilligan, was last seen leaving for a three hour tour with the Skipper, Mr. and Mrs. Thurston Howell III, a movie star, a professor and a young lady named Mary Ann.
Andy Jr., who had a penchant for older women, eloped with Andyline Wash and ran off into the hills never to be seen or heard from again.
Mysteries solved!
Pattiejn RoyLeeSeay 10 months ago
Don't forget he got his start saying, "What, me work?" alongside Dobie Gillis. (Maynard G. Krebbs). You're too young to remember that.
MatthewAnderson 10 months ago
Return to Mayberry is included with the season 1 bluray.
tvmike 10 months ago
I was there when they were filming in Los Olivos, Ca. I was working as an insurance inspector and had some jobs in the area. It was in February 1986 and I was driving into the town (it's a flagpole at a four-way stop and a few businesses) and there was a road sign that said "Welcome to Mayberry". I thought that maybe someone was just playing a joke but I soon saw a filming crew at a small church. I stopped and the entire cast and crew were milling around on a break. They were filming the marriage screen that day (Barney and Thelma Lou) I spoke with everyone except Andy. They were all very friendly. The Mayberry courthouse was built on the SE corner of the flagpole and I walked through it when they weren't using it. It was one of those fun experiences in life that you don't plan. I got to spend a week in Mayberry.
Cranewife tvmike 10 months ago
What a treat! Thank you for sharing that!
MusicLover3889 tvmike 24 days ago
Do you have any pictures?
RoberttheWallace 10 months ago
Looking forward to seeing this movie --just to see Howard Morris's Ernest T. Bass: " If I heard you was coming, I'd know what to do--I'd have riss both hands and wove at you! " Classic; Morris was my most favorite character, what a talented man! ! !
Howard Morris actually directed a few episodes of the show. He also directed a few episodes of Hogan’s Heroes and Get Smart. He even directed an episode of Laverne and Shirley.
Janice 10 months ago
I can't wait to see "Return to Mayberry" this Sunday. I feel like family is coming over!
momtelera 10 months ago
The baby was named Andrew Samuel Taylor, Andy, Jr.
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